Fall 2006 Wyoming Kendo and Iaido Newsletter
This Fall semester has been a busy time for all of us and we are only about half way there. On behalf of Cheyenne Budokan, Wyoming Kendo and Iaido club, and the Rocky Mountain Kendo Federation, thank you for your efforts to share the experience and culture of Kendo and Iaido with a wider audience; not only was the Festival of Japan demonstration a success but the Wyoming Signatures clip that recently aired on public television featured many of our own folks discussing various aspects of Kendo and Iaido.
Welcome to all new students, we are grateful for your interest and participation. We hope that you will continue to be diligent in your efforts to learn the fundamentals of Kendo and Iaido that will allow you to don the bogu for ji-geiko and shiai or perform tameshigiri with a shinken.
It is usually within the first month of the year that membership information and dues are collected. Membership allows you to participate in national and regional events such as regional and national training seminars and tournaments as well as test for and hold rank in Kendo and/or Iaido. Membership also entitles each member to limited liability insurance. Please consider either becoming a new member of the All United States Kendo Federation(AUSKF) and Rocky Mountain Kendo and Iaido Federation(RMKIF) or if you are already a member please strongly consider renewing your membership.
We do our best to provide as much notice as we can for dates and times but here is a general outline for the next several months.
* Wyoming Iaido seminar in Cheyenne, WY
* Kendo shinsa and end of year training at RMKIF dojo in Englewood, CO
* Iaido taikai and shinsa at RMKIF dojo in Englewood, CO
* End of year party in Cheyenne, WY
* Shoryuhai Collegiate Kendo taikai at Harvard
~AUSKF Womens taikai (date and location TBA) traditionally in Seattle and in August.
~RMKF Annual Summer Iaido and Kendo training and shinsa
~AUSKF Summer training
We are limited to the bogu and iaito that we have available ask that all students who use equipment also maintain a reasonable level of attendance when renting and using club equipment. For those who can afford to and would like to purchase their own equipment, very reliable and comfortable bogu can be found for around $650. Good usable iaito can be found from upwards of $200. Most bogu and iaito have a useful service life of 10-15 years if maintained properly.
Please remember to pay the rental fee on time and up front at the beginning of the semester. We strive to continue to operate on the honor system and please realize that we are able to provide more bogu each year and we also continue to replace and repair bogu as necessary.
In spite of busy schedules it is important to remember to continue to seek refinement in the course of your training. We encourage all participants to attend classes in Cheyenne and at a certain point classes in Denver. Please remember that we are all participants in a group activity and an important aspect of this is goodwill training. It does not hurt to prepare outside of class, however it is important that an AUSKF/RMKIF instructor have the opportunity to help you improve your exercise. We encourage everyone to train in Cheyenne and Englewood as often as possible.
Continue to pursue and develop proper Kihon throughout your Kendo and Iaido training. Kihon is the foundation of exercises. The basic practice that we continue to return to which helps us acquire waza, timing, and seme. Always seek to improve and perfect the basics in Kendo.
A very special thank you to those who were able to attend the October Kendo taikai at the Englewood dojo in Colorado; a good time was had by all! Here are the results:
* 1st Shawna Gleason (WYO)
* 2nd Andy Blevins (RMB)
* 3rd Sean Pent (RMB)
* Fighting Spirit: Chris Lang (WYO)
* 1st Seth Rissmiller (RMB)
* 2nd Tony Bodwin (RMB)
* 3rd Ervin Caballes (RMB)
* Fighting Spirit: Katie Rogers (WYO)
* 1st Jason Wong (RMB)
* 2nd Monica Iwakabe (RMB)
* 3rd Hans Eyman (RMB)
* Fighting Spirit: Jon Seay (RMB)
We recently had the privilege and opportunity to host a 3rd Dan from Japan, Ichiro Sakai, who was in Laramie to learn English on behalf of his company. Thanks so much to everyone for their support and participation during his time with us in Laramie. He enjoyed himself and was very pleased to help teach Kendo and observe the improvement you all made during his brief visit.
Beth Foote, a Kendo student, and Carrie Groathouse, a former student of Kendo are both in Kobe, Japan for an exchange program. They recently posted a website with their adventures, so please check it out! We are glad to hear that Beth is able to train Kendo in Japan on occasion and has a nice new set of bogu to use! Gambatte Beth and Carrie! Enjoy your experience in Japan and we look forward to seeing you when you return!
Kendo training in Japan.
Beth recently answered a few questions about her training in Japan;
What is training Kendo like in Japan?''
Surprisingly (or not so I guess now that I think about) Kendo training here in Japan, at the Takarazuka Dojo, is similar to how we have class back in Wyoming (the adult class). They start with mokuso, and some stretching. Then its men tsuke and class beings. Everyone is expected to line up (the new individuals against the sensei''s and senpai''s) and do the basics: Kirikaeshi, and then various combinations of men, kote, and do hits (nidan waza is really popular). Once we have gone through one technique, then we go down the line and everyone does that technique in front of everyone else five times. Once we are done with warm up, we move on and do some practice ji-geiko, each time we start and end it is with kirikaeshi and then some more ji-geiko (sometimes with different people). There is not a whole lot of practice dedicated to learning new techniques and such, you kind of are expected to learn them as you go and are shown by the sensei. The end of class is kind of similar to ours with men tore, then stretching, then a mokuso and bowing out. It is really fun. (Takarazuka (you might want to double check with brain) has four sensei'' that are roku-dan and a few senpai which levels I am not sure of, I know that there are a few beginners (roughly my level) in the class, which is nice).
The Nishinomiya dojo is slightly different. The kids'' class (right before the adult class) is a lot like our classes (same beginning as in Takarazuka minus the stretching), with warming up saburi, then warm up waza across the room (men, men, men, or kote men, kote men, kote men) and then they take a quick break and men tsuke. They then practice kirikaeshi and launch right into techniques (usually nidan waza with kote, men, and do combinations), and once they are done they do ji-geiko. The really beginning students just do big hits, kirikaeshi and then some footwork. Me, being a new comer, got to do a lot of men from one side of the room to the other side. Then once the sensei thought I had done enough of those, it was kote, then after a while kote men. He also had me do some of the 3 part hits (itchi, ni, san is a step forward hit men, back into chundan no kamae, and finally step back), which was something I really enjoyed. After the kid''s class finished, I was expected to join the adult class. There was not warm up time, you were expected to have done that already on your own. They did the normal opening with rei-ho and such, and then everyone has to men tsuke. You are expected to go against the head sensei as your first "match" and then you go to the other three sensei''s and sometime you will go against other classmates. However, when you go against the first sensei it is kirikaeishi and then whatever the sensei wants you to do after that. You are expected to hear the prompting for the waza or drill he wants you to practice, and then do it until he is finished with watching your exercise or wants you to do something different. Once that is done you move on to the next sensei and do about the same thing. Most of the more experienced individuals just ji-geiko for most of the time with the sensei and each other. I usually am expected to do kirikaeshi, then combinations of men, kote and do, then a little ji-geiko, but mostly ni-dan waza. It''s really hard, they are sooo fast! At the Nishinomiya dojo there are four nana-dan sensei, the other members are ni-dan or higher in rank. I think (actually I know) I am the lowest ranking participant in the adult class. Though I give it all I have.
How often are you able to attend practice?''
Until recently I was only able to attend class on Saturdays. But now, since I am splitting my time between two dojos I am able to practice Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays. The times I can go in a week vary depending on what obligations I have, but I am committed to Mondays and Fridays for sure.
Have you participated in a test or tournament?''
Not yet, but I think it''s because I need some more training and in the fall Kendo is really popular there are many school tournaments and such, but I missed the “season” for the most part, and now I hope to be able to participate in a testing or tournament within the next two or three months, depending on how often I can practice. I hope to also go and watch various tournaments in our area as they are happening.
What is your favorite waza?''
Right now my favorite waza would have to be nidan waza (kote do specifically) simply because it is the one waza they make me do the most of. They are trying to improve my do hits and so I do a TON of nidan-waza. Usually kote men, kote do, and men do.